Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RDN, FAND
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Many believe that organic foods are better and more nutritious than non-organic foods. It’s also widely believed that conventionally grown produce is swimming in pesticides. Buying organic is expensive. So this leaves people feeling like they can’t afford to eat quality produce. The truth is, even organic farmers use pesticides to keep crops pest-free.
“Organic” doesn’t mean healthy. Organic cookies are still cookies, after all.
For a good healthy snack (organic, or otherwise), think small portions and nutrient-rich: A handful of nuts, an apple with a bit of peanut butter, a cheese stick with whole grain crackers, 6 oz. of yogurt.
It’s wonderful to eat fresh and locally grown produce in season, when possible. But winter is just around the corner. Soon, fresh and locally grown foods will be hard to find. It’s important for folks to know: Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables aren’t evil. In fact, they are fantastic.
Modern food processing retains and, in some cases enhances, nutrients. (Example: Canned tomatoes). And sometimes, a simple rinse of a canned good (think black beans) can drastically reduce sodium and carbohydrates.
Artisan is a word that is considered a “health halo.” It is food marketers’ best attempt to convey a healthy lifestyle. But nutritionally, it’s meaningless. Other common health halos: “Natural” and “Wholesome.”
When you go to the grocery store, it’s important to be skeptical of labels and packaging.
Flip the package over.
Look at serving size. It’s probably far smaller than you might think.
Scrutinize Calories, Carbohydrates, Sodium, Fiber, Sugars, Protein.
Ask yourself: Are the totals listed adequate for your dietary needs? Or do these exceed your needs?
Low/No Carb Diets
It’s become very popular to cut bread and pasta out of one’s diet. And it’s true, if you cut out these things (and cereal, rice, and even starchy vegetablea like potatoes), you will lose weight. Perhaps even up to 2-4 pounds, right away. However, when you eliminate grains, you also eliminate nutrients. And the weight that you’re losing is just water weight.
All diets create calorie deficits. That’s why they result in lost pounds. But these losses are often short term and are rarely maintained in the long term. The formula for success is simple: Eat less, and move more. You will lose the pounds that you seek to drop.
What few people realize is that almond milk and cashew milk have very little protein compared to cow’s milk. If you are lactose intolerant, almond milk may be a good option for you. But if you go with a nut milk, you’ll need to eat an egg, or toast with peanut butter, to get your protein serving.
Many do not know that almond milk is a highly processed beverage and contains as little as 2% almonds. I recommend that folks eat an actual serving of almonds, and (when it comes to a milk-substitute beverage) consider soy milk, which is high in protein and other nutrients.